The net inflow of migrants hit a new high in the year ended May, eliciting ritual denunciation from Winston Peters.
“The Government is condemning more Kiwis to the dole queue and to a life in rental houses,” he said. “Soon there will be anger as so many miss out on the Kiwi dream of home ownership, especially in Auckland, where over half the record net 57,800 migrants are settling.”
The first point to make in response to this is that the statisticians’ definition of permanent and long-term migrants includes Kiwis.
Indeed. In the last 12 months 29,510 New Zealanders “migrated” home.
In the latest year there was a net loss of 5800 New Zealand citizens, compared with an average net loss of 26,600 a year over the previous 10 years, and 13,200 in the year to May 2014. Harder times across the Tasman explain a lot of that.
In 2012, the net outflow of New Zealanders was 38,910, so it is now one sixth of that.
So who are the immigrants Peters is keen to scapegoat?
A breakdown of visa types gives us a clue. Of the 80,000 visas issued in the past year, 35,100 – 44 per cent – were work visas. That is 13,800, or 65 per cent, more than four years ago, before the need to rebuild our second-largest city boosted demand for people in the building trades. By all accounts Auckland could do with some of them too.
There are definite areas where not enough Kiwis are available for work.
Student visas are the second-largest category, representing 32 per cent of all visas issued in the past year. The total of 25,600 issued in the past year is up from 17,600 in the previous year and 9500 10 years ago.
“Indian student arrivals of 12,100 are double the previous year and Chinese student arrivals were up 22 per cent to over 7000 in the past year,” Peters said.
Whatever his source for these numbers was, it was not Statistics NZ, which put the number of student visas issued to Indians at 10,100 and to Chinese at 4800.
“Young Kiwi workers are also missing out on low-skilled jobs as foreign students, most of whom want permanent residence, take over in supermarkets, service stations and hotels,” Peters said. “Why should foreign students be allowed to work at all? Our supposed export education industry is supposed to be bringing in foreign exchange.”
Well, it is. A report by Infometrics on the economic impact of the international education industry estimates that gross spending, including tuition fees, rose 10.4 per cent last year to $2.75 billion, the majority of it in Auckland.
“About 14,500 full-time-equivalent jobs are directly attributable to international education delivered within New Zealand, with another 15,700 jobs being indirectly supported through the industry’s upstream and downstream multiplier effects,” it said.
We make a substantial profit from offering international education. A great income earner.